SCAM PREVENTION: Call a Good Friend BEFORE You Get Scammed!
Make someone in the family the point-person to stop a scam in progress.
Scam prevention tactics are more important than ever. Fraudsters are getting bolder and richer, and quite frankly, protection is harder to find. What are we to do?
Remember the 1980s comedy, “Ghostbusters?” A team of scientists and friends advertised they could rid of your ghosts, like a bug exterminator. Their slogan was, “Who You Gonna Call?”
If only it were the same with scammers and con artists who call, text and email us—and others that we care about.
Scammers are everywhere today. Around every corner, setting traps, selling lies, and scaring people into giving up money or valuable personal information.
It’s not just yourself that you should be worried about. Scammers are going after everyone—your friends, your parents and grandparents, and kids of all ages.
And when a scammer is on their own doorstep, who they gonna call?
The answer is…nobody.
Because even though scammers are everywhere, help to stop them is almost nowhere to be found.
Imagine the worst.
Imagine how bad you’d feel if a scammer succeeded and ripped off a close friend or family member. Not good. You’d be devastated if your parents or grandparents were swindled out thousands of dollars. With no scam prevention plan in place, those we care about are easy prey.
And who can they reach out to for trying to get their money back?
Because it’s just too late to do anything but report it to some government agency. The chance of a victim getting their money back is zero.
Maybe you’re thinking it won’t happen to you or anyone you’re close to. That’s not likely.
Scammers are nonstop. They never let up. Their goal is to catch us with our guard down. They prey on the elderly, the lonely, the naive, the desperate, the greedy, the innocent…and otherwise decent and honest people.
You can count on it. Fraudsters will eventually get around to targeting you, your parents, your friends, kids or someone you know from work, church or your kids’ sports teams.
Without a scam prevention strategy, it can seem hopeless.
We’re on our own when it comes to getting help when a scam occurs. That’s not how it is with many of life’s circumstances.
After someone has a car accident, they can call several people for help. The police, fire department, their insurance company and a lawyer.
Once someone is scammed, there’s no one to call for help. You can report it, but it simply becomes another statistic. One more scam out of hundreds a day.
Sad story. True story.
Some time back, a person who was scammed reached out the Chris Parker, CEO of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, asking Chris if he could help track down someone who scammed him.
The scammer conned the victim out of all their life savings. And there was NOTHING Chris could do. Nor the police. It was just too late.
And it’s only getting worse.
But that doesn’t mean we need to give up.
How to prevent scams before the happen.
There is something every family or friends-group can do to prevent someone in their circle from falling victim to a scammer.
They can appoint someone in the group to be one person the others can call when they sense a possible scam.
Not after the scam, but before it.
In other words, anytime someone in the family gets a call or email that seems fishy, odd, unexpected, threatening or TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, they know to stop in their tracks and call their friend (whomever that is) to talk to BEFORE proceeding.
It’s not such a strange notion—it’s actually a good one—to have a point person to call.
Whenever there’s a family event (party, reunion, holiday gathering) there’s usually ONE person in the family making all arrangements. And family members or friends, when they’re told who to call, usually follow the rules.
So, imagine have one family member (and maybe a backup) be the point person for helping the others keep safe.
Maybe you’re thinking, “would that work?”
The answer is “yes!”
Scammers hate being interrupted!
Scammers hate being tripped up!
The last thing a scammer wants is to hear a potential victim, someone they have on the hook, say “let me talk to my friend about this. I’ll get back to you.”
Why? Because a hacker, like a salesperson with a quota, wants to close the deal when they’re close and they worked hard to capture a victim.
And a scammer, like the salesperson, knows the deal/scam with collapse if the target talks to someone for advice.
They’d hate known there might be a scam prevention plan in place! If a family or friends-group can come together, talk about the danger of scams, and agree to call one person for advice when something seems wrong, they will drastically improve the chances of avoiding scams.
Beyond the family.
The same goes for other groups that spend a lot of time together, interact and care about each other’s welfare:
- a senior community center
- a bridge club
- a book club
- a group of buddies or girlfriends
- a church group
Who they gonna call? Maybe it’s you.
Let’s go back to one of the earliest questions in this article—a very important one.
How would you feel if someone close to you was swindled by a scammer?
If that thought saddens (or angers!) you, maybe you should take the challenge and spearhead the campaign to keep your family safe.
The bottom line is this.
When it comes to scams, we may be on our own, but we’re not helpless or defenseless. If people come together with friends and family with a plan, they can reduce the chance of falling prey to a scam or fraud.
And instead of sharing bad news with each other about being scammed, they could share great news about how they tripped up another scam attempt.
If you’re a concerned citizen—or concerned grandparent, parent or friend, here’s one way you can sharpen your skillset and help others avoid scams.
- Listen to the Easy Prey Podcast! Chris Parker, CEO of WhatIsMyIPaddress.com and host of the Easy Prey podcast, offers dozens of episodes to help us learn more about fraudsters and how to avoid their tricks. He also talks to experts about online privacy, credit management and more.
- Read the Easy Prey blog. There are a handful of good articles about the foundation of scams and how to avoid them.
- Search the WhatIsMyIPaddress.com learning center. Go to WhatIsMyIPAddress.com and key in a topic in the search box on any page, from hoaxes and hacks to dating scams and more.
- Easy Prey Podcast
- General Topics
- Home Computing
- IP Addresses
- Online Privacy
- Online Safety
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